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No festive goodwill in sport wage deals

AAP logoAAP 14/12/2016 Steve Larkin

'Tis the season of goodwill. Unless you're an elite Australian sportsman or sports administrator.

Players and officials are poles apart as Australia's three major sporting codes - cricket, AFL and NRL - butt heads over new wage deals. Here's the state of pay.

AFL

AFL players want their wages to include a fixed share of the code's revenue. But the AFL itself is against linking salary to revenue. So talks have broken down, meaning next season's salary cap hasn't been set - clubs are working on the assumption of a 10 per cent increase from this year's cap on total player payments of $10.6 million per club.

The AFL Players' Association is accusing league hierarchy of disrespect by not coming to the negotiating table but won't publicly specify what increase players want - though the gap between the players and the league is thought to be in the vicinity of $150 million.

Players have mooted strike action during the preseason if headquarters doesn't budge.

NRL

Australian Rugby League Commission chairman John Grant's head is on the chopping block and the 16 NRL clubs are sharpening the axe.

Last December, Grant announced the ARL had agreed to fund each club to the tune of 130 per cent of their salary caps from 2018 onwards.

A Heads of Agreement was signed but talks over terms dragged on for almost a year before Grant withdrew the deal from the negotiating table last month, prompting clubs to call for his resignation.

A new collective bargaining agreement needs to be signed next year with players signalling a fixed share of revenue is also on their agenda.

CRICKET

Cricket has had a fixed share of revenue system for two decades - about 26 per cent of revenue is funnelled into player payments.

But governing body Cricket Australia, while publicly cagey, is now understood to favour capping payments to international cricketers for the first time - the average annual salary for the top 20 male cricketers is around $1.15 million with the top-end getting about $2 million.

CA reportedly believes the the existing model isn't sustainable because it doesn't allow the body to fund grassroots, women's and club cricket as much as it would like - putting the current figure at 12 per cent of revenue.

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